Weight loss is not the easiest task. I’ve gone through quite a few dieting phases in the past 10-11 years, and oftentimes, I remember instances where it was really hard for me to stay the course and employ discipline. Now, it’s not so much a struggle as I’ve been doing this for some time, but for those who are inexperienced and new to the process the struggle can be very real.
I wanted to compile a list of overrated and underrated topics regarding weight loss and weight management that I feel are necessary for most who are undergoing this process, regardless of your experience level.
Overrated: All or Nothing Thinking
Having an all-or-nothing mentality sets you up for failure before you even start. It encourages a vicious cycle of going all in (while expecting perfection), making a mistake and/or having an off day, falling off plan, feeling guilt and restricting, and so on. Stop looking at the process as black and white and find the grey.
Underrated: Taking opportunities to learn from the process
Knowledge is power. I tell my clients all the time that while we can’t expect perfection (and shouldn’t), we can work at being consistent in our efforts. Not only that, but the only way we see our weak spots and grow throughout the process is if we mess up! That’s perfectly fine. See what the issue was, what we can do moving forward, and tackle a new week with that information in mind.
Overrated: Using motivation to keep you on track
Here’s a big one for most people. Motivation is fleeting. Don’t rely on feeling motivated to carry you through each and every week because there will be days where you just don’t feel like hitting the gym, tracking your meal, or prepping some food for the week. This is natural, no matter how long you’ve been at this.
Underrated: Practicing discipline and flexible restraint
So, if you can’t rely on motivation, what do you do, then? You cultivate discipline. Discipline will always trump motivation and that will be the driver for change on those days where you really don’t feel like doing the things that are good for you. Sure, it’s difficult at first to push through those low motivation days, but over time practicing discipline becomes a habit in itself. This just helps us maintain consistency over time!
Overrated: Social pressure
You’re going to go through a bit of a transition phase, and part of this can definitely involve your environment and those in your inner circle. Comments and questions can be pretty common, as well as social pressure to veer off plan if some around you don’t understand your lifestyle changes. Don’t let the opinions of others determine whether you pursue your goals.
Underrated: Social support
To follow up on social pressure, a lot of these types of barriers can stem from those who simply come from a place of misunderstanding. Try to elaborate on why these changes are important to you and what you’re working towards. My biggest piece of advice here is to remember why you’re making the changes you’re making and know that the only opinion that matters is your own.
Overrated: Unrealistic expectations
Promises of fast results are very attractive to the average dieter. I don’t blame them, but it’s something that, more often than not, sets them up for failure down the road when they realize that they haven’t lost the promised “30 pounds in 4 weeks” that their plan advertised.
The dieter, in turn, feels like a failure and throws in the towel. This doesn’t even mention the possible weight loss the dieter may have had in that timeframe – but, nonetheless, the unrealistic expectations placed on the individual is enough to make anyone feel like they should have gotten more from their efforts.
Cue the classic “f*** it” mentality.
Underrated: Staying structured and focusing on the process
In reality, change takes time more than anything! Weight gain (for most) adds up gradually, so why shouldn’t it work the same way for weight loss? Setting realistic expectations for yourself gives you the right mindset when jumping into the changes you’re making.
Progress won’t happen overnight, but knowing that these small changes you’re making now will add up and just aid you on your journey is a huge benefit for those who know what to expect.
Focus on what you’re doing day in and day out and the outcome will become more and more in reach. Small habits like planning out your week, staying organized, prepping your food/meals, weekly physical activity, hydration, sleep/stress management.
The process leads to the outcome.